2020 Nissan Frontier Priced, Exploring the New Frontier of 2021 Will Have to Wait

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Nissan isn’t ready to discuss the 2021 Frontier just yet, but the brand has set pricing for the 2020 version of its aging midsize pickup.

If you’re cool with two-wheel drive and a King Cab model, you can get in the door for $26,790.

If you need four doors and four-wheel drive, an S Crew Cab will cost $31,290. Destination, not included in those prices, is $1,095. The 2020 Frontier will reach dealerships in July of this year and remain available until whenever Nissan launches the fully redesigned 2021 truck. Pandemic uncertainty could factor into that.

Indeed, thanks to pandemic-related production delays, the 2020 models were delayed. The trucks would’ve likely been in dealers by now otherwise.

Perhaps the biggest news here is the appearance of a new engine as well as the addition of four forward gears – the truck’s only available transmission is a nine-speed automatic, and all trims will get the 310-horsepower, 3.8-liter V6.

Price increases are $2,000 on average across the board, according to Nissan.

So yes, types, the three-pedal option is gone. So is the four-cylinder option and Desert Runner and SL trims. Also gone: manual door locks and windows.

Not here yet: automatic stop/start, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability.

Horsepower jumps by 49 ponies over the last (4.0-liter) V6, and fuel economy is up 2 mpg combined over the previous V6 (when paired to the now defunct five-speed auto). That’s 19 mpg combined for four-wheel drive models and 20 mpg combined for two-wheel drive models now. The full stat is this: 18/24/20 for two-wheel drive and 17/23/19 for four-wheel drive.

Since truck buyers love to brag about their rigs, here are two key numbers: Max tow capacity is 6,640 and payload is 1,460 pounds.

Here’s the price list in full: S King Cab 4×2, $26,790; SV King Cab 4×2, $27,670; S King Cab 4×4, $29,680; SV King Cab 4×4, $30,560; S Crew Cab 4×2, $27,900; SV Crew Cab 4×2 SWB, $28,800; SV Crew Cab 4×2 LWB, $31,410; S Crew Cab 4×4, $31,290; SV Crew Cab 4×4 SWB, $31,990; SV Crew Cab 4×4 LWB, $32,410; Pro-4X Crew Cab 4×4, $37,490. Again, none of these include destination fees.

An available Special Edition package adds a chrome grill, a trip computer, a body-color rear bumper, and 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, while an available Midnight Edition offers “special black exterior treatments” and 18-inch gloss black aluminum-alloy wheels.

Push-button start is now standard, along with a leather shift knob.

Don’t expect to be able to visually identify a 2020 Frontier at a glance – you’ll need to pop the hood to know it’s new. Styling doesn’t change, inside or out.

For that, look to 2021.

[Images: Nissan]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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  • Jeff S Jeff S on May 20, 2020

    I doubt if Nissan will go smaller and not only that they will most likely only offer a crew cab. From the articles about the Santa Cruze it seems that it will come in crew cab as well. Maybe there is still hope if Ford comes out with a new compact pickup. Midsize crew cab pickups with small beds seem to be what the manufacturers are all going for which is not what I want or need but I do understand that these trucks are marketed toward families. If my only options in midsize pickups become only crew cabs with turbo motors and small beds I will keep my Isuzu even though it is a crew cab--it has a larger bed than many of the current crew cab midsize pickups and it is paid for. Offer a real compact pickup with either an extended cab or regular cab and price it no more than the low 20's. I want what I want and if I have to make do with a crew cab pickup with a small bed for close to 30k I will not buy it.

    • Vulpine Vulpine on May 20, 2020

      @Jeff S: I'm pretty much with you on everything you said. I don't like crew cabs ordinarily because the add length with only marginal improvement in usability for their size. Trucks have grown much too large and so much of that space is wasted both inside the cab (really, a console as wide as a LARGE person, along with a second row that almost never gets used by the average owner?) and the bed length suffers as they have gone from an average of 6.5 feet to five feet in length; the short bed now 4.5 feet in length and the long bed only 5.5 feet in length. an 8-foot bed is almost special-order country and for some models almost impossible to buy. As such, modern full-sized trucks are far LESS practical than they used to be while the mid-sized truck has started taking over the "real work" environment. Why? Because my Colorado has a 6' bed and even the crew cab version splits the difference between the short-bed and long-bed crew cab full-sizers at 5' even. Granted, I can't get an 8' bed in a Colorado but then, I also can't get a standard cab, either. But worse, even as it is, my Colorado is fully as long as my 1990 F-150 I drove for three years back in '12. It's almost as wide as that '90 model, too and easily as tall. I took delivery of the Colorado about a week early as some of the options I purchased for the bed hadn't arrived yet, so when I took it in to have those installed, I was given a Silverado to drive while they installed everything... The Silverado overlapped my parking area front and rear and almost completely filled the marked spot in width. And yes, it was notably taller than even my '09 JKU Wrangler, that rode on 32" tires, factory stock. There's a reason I call these things Road Whales and I've finally given my Colorado a name... "Blue Orca", which its onboard WiFi carries as the name of its hotspot. All told, they're simply too big. AND too small for practical use in their original design purpose. Talking about smaller, we do know Ford has 'announced' a true compact truck for '22-'24 model year release (exact year uncertain due to this year's coronavirus event) that is tentatively being called a Courier. With luck, this will be sized like an early Ranger at the largest and hopefully closer to the original Mazda B2000/Ford Courier. There's also rumor that FCAU/whatever the new Fiat/Peugeot group will be called is considering a smaller truck as well, though possibly taking on the Dakota name, which was the original mid-sized truck effectively slotting in between the D-50 and the full-sizers of the day. I was hoping and the original concept for the Santa Cruz suggested a smaller model fitting in better with the more compact version of the mid-sizers but the latest announcements suggest that while it may be shorter, the overall size will be closer to today's mid-sizers than those of 20 years ago, while nearly everyone who WANTS a smaller truck wants one closer to the compacts of 40 years ago. We'll just have to wait and see.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on May 20, 2020

    Agree, I am still hoping for a compact truck closer to the ones of 40 years ago. Disappointed in the Santa Fe hoping for it to be more like the concept which I would buy. My 2008 Isuzu looks tiny next to a Silverado but it looks huge next to my Granddad's 63 IH 1000 which my nephew has been restoring (gave my nephew my old S-10 which is still looking and running like new).

  • Scott Le Mans - Steve McQueen. It's an oldy and cult only but those who saw it know who's cars were featured.
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  • Lou_BC "In 2007, 85% of Americans drove themselves to work and 6% rode with someone else. But by 2018, while the 6% of Americans who carpool has remained constant, there has been a decrease in the percentage of those who drive themselves to work, edging down to 77%." .................. If people can't recharge at home, it would be logical to set up charging infrastructure at workplace parking lots. That would cover 77% of the population. An 8 hour workday should be adequate to keep an EV charged.
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